Petition of the day

SCOTUS Blog - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 23:23

The petition of the day is:

Pavan v. Smith 16-992

Issue: Whether a state violates the 14th Amendment by denying married same-sex couples the same right afforded to married opposite-sex couples under state law to have the name of the birth mother’s spouse entered as the second parent on their child’s birth certificate.

The post Petition of the day appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

How Does CBO Estimate the Effects of Proposed Legislation Affecting Immigration?

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 22:34

How Does CBO Estimate the Effects of Proposed Legislation Affecting Immigration? Posted by Sam Papenfuss on March 27, 2017

‘When CBO’s Director testified at Congressional hearings at the beginning of February, he was asked some questions about how CBO analyzes potential changes to immigration policy. Because answers during Congressional hearings must be brief, this blog post provides additional information. What Factors Does CBO Consider When Estimating the Economic Effects of Proposed Legislation Affecting Immigration? In 2013, CBO published an economic analysis of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). That act would have revised laws governing immigration and the enforcement of those laws, allowing for a significant increase in the number of noncitizens who could lawfully enter the United States permanently or temporarily. The bill also would have created a process for many currently unauthorized residents to gain legal status, subject to their meeting conditions specified in the bill. CBO’s economic analysis was based on the agency’s cost estimate of S. 744. Both analyses, which were conducted in collaboration with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, illustrate the types of effects that CBO examines when legislative proposals would have a substantial effect on the economy. Relative to current law, enacting S. 744 would have:

  • Increased the population, the size of the labor force, and employment;
  • Decreased average wages through 2024 and increased them thereafter;
  • Slightly raised the unemployment rate through 2020;
  • Boosted the amount of capital investment;
  • Raised the productivity of labor and of capital; and
  • Resulted in higher interest rates
Categories: Research

House Doc – Principles for Reforming the Military Selective Service Process

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 22:18

Principles for Reforming the Military Selective Service Process Pursuant to Public Law 114-328, SEC. 555(c)(1). House Document 115–27, April 3, 2017.

Via FAS – Steven Aftergood: “The Nation must prepare to mitigate an unpredictable global security and national emergency environment,” the White House said in a report to Congress this month. The report, transmitted by President Trump on April 3, provided principles for reform of the selective service process by which young Americans enter the military. The report was required by section 555 of the 2017 defense authorization act. “The Nation must be ever mindful of the unpredictable global security environment that requires an effective and efficient means to provide manpower to the national security community, including military and non-military support in a national emergency,” the President’s report said. How to prepare in practice for the unpredictable is not clear, except that it involves flexibility. “Any system, process, or program used to identify, recruit, and employ additional skill sets should be effective in times of peace, war, and other levels of conflict or emergency response. Associated initiatives, systems, and processes must be seamless, robust, and able to expand and contract as needed,” the report said. Congress established a new National Commission to consider changes to the selective service system, and to develop “the means by which to foster a greater attitude, ethos, and propensity for military services among United States youth.”

Categories: Research

Canada Rules To Uphold Net Neutrality

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 22:05
According to a new ruling by Canada's telecommunications regulator, internet service providers should not be able to exempt certain types of content, such as streaming music or video, from counting toward a person's data cap. The ruling upholds net neutrality, which is the principle that all web services should be treated equally by providers. reports: "Rather than offering its subscribers selected content at different data usage prices, Internet service providers should be offering more data at lower prices," said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the CRTC in a statement. "That way, subscribers can choose for themselves what content they want to consume." The decision stems from a 2015 complaint against the wireless carrier Videotron, which primarily operates in Quebec. Videotron launched a feature in August of that year, enabling customers to stream music from services such as Spotify and Google Play Music without it counting against a monthly data cap as a way to entice people to subscribe to Videotron's internet service. The decision means that Videotron cannot offer its unlimited music streaming plan to subscribers in its current form -- nor can other internet providers offer similar plans that zero-rate other types of internet content, such as video streaming or social media.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Subway Sues Canada Network Over Claim Its Chicken Is 50 Percent Soy

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 20:45
jenningsthecat writes: As reported here back in February, the CBC, (Canada's national broadcaster), revealed DNA test results which indicated the chicken used in Subway Restaurants' sandwiches only contained about 50% chicken. Now, Subway is suing the public broadcaster for $210 million, because "its reputation and brand have taken a hit as a result of the CBC reports." The suit claims that "false statements [...] were published and republished, maliciously and without just cause or excuse, to a global audience, which has resulted in pecuniary loss to the plaintiffs." Personally, my working assumption here is that the CBC report is substantially correct. It will be interesting to see how the case plays out -- but should this have happened at all? Regulatory agencies here in Canada seem to be pretty good when it comes to inspecting meat processing facilities. Should they also be testing the prepared foods served by major restaurant chains to ensure that claims regarding food content are true and accurate?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Trump Sued for Revoking Protections for Wolves, Bears in Alaska

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 20:12

Lawsuit Is First to Challenge Constitutionality of Congressional Review Act – “In the first constitutional challenge of its kind, the Center for Biological Diversity today sued the Trump administration for repealing protections for wolves, bears and other wildlife on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges. President Trump signed legislation on April 3 — rushed through Congress under the Congressional Review Act — that repealed an Obama administration rule that prohibited killing wolves and their pups in their dens, gunning down bears at bait stations and shooting them from airplanes. Under the legislation signed by Trump, all of these practices can now be allowed. Today’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, challenges the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law allowing legislators to repeal federal regulations adopted in the last few months of the previous presidential administration. Before 2017 Congress successfully used it just once, in 2001, but Trump and the current Congress have now used it to revoke 13 different Obama-era regulations...The suit says that the Congressional Review Act violates the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine by preventing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from future rulemaking that is “substantially the same” as the disapproved rule. By constraining the agency without changing its governing laws through the procedures mandated by the Constitution, the Act unconstitutionally expands Congress’s power at the expense of the executive branch…In August 2016 the Fish and Wildlife Service finalized regulations that protected wolves and bears from new predator-control tactics approved by Alaska’s Board of Game. These tactics include killing wolf mothers and pups during denning season; killing brown bears over bait; trapping and killing black bears with steel-jaw leg-hold traps or wire snares; and killing brown and black bears from aircraft. Alaska’s predator-control activities are intended to artificially inflate prey populations, such as moose and caribou, for hunters. House and Senate Republicans used the Congressional Review Act to repeal the predator-protection rule on a highly partisan vote. Predator-protection regulations in national parks and national refuges are also under attack from the state of Alaska, which is challenging those regulations in federal court. The Center and its allies have intervened on behalf of the Interior Department to defend the challenged regulations. The Center is represented in today’s lawsuit by Center staff attorneys along with attorneys from the law firm of Lane Powell.”

Categories: Research

Google shares hiring documents and techniques

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:52

Structure your hiring process with these re:Work tools: “Hiring someone new is a critical decision for a team or organization, and every step of the hiring process contributes to the final outcome. Use these resources from Google to help you approach hiring in a fair and structured way.

Categories: Research

Arctic Ocean as a dead end for floating plastics in North Atlantic branch of Thermohaline Circulation

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:49

The Arctic Ocean as a dead end for floating plastics in the North Atlantic branch of the Thermohaline Circulation. Science Advances 19 Apr 2017: Vol. 3, no. 4, e1600582. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600582

“The subtropical ocean gyres are recognized as great marine accummulation zones of floating plastic debris; however, the possibility of plastic accumulation at polar latitudes has been overlooked because of the lack of nearby pollution sources. In the present study, the Arctic Ocean was extensively sampled for floating plastic debris from the Tara Oceans circumpolar expedition. Although plastic debris was scarce or absent in most of the Arctic waters, it reached high concentrations (hundreds of thousands of pieces per square kilometer) in the northernmost and easternmost areas of the Greenland and Barents seas. The fragmentation and typology of the plastic suggested an abundant presence of aged debris that originated from distant sources. This hypothesis was corroborated by the relatively high ratios of marine surface plastic to local pollution sources. Surface circulation models and field data showed that the poleward branch of the Thermohaline Circulation transfers floating debris from the North Atlantic to the Greenland and Barents seas, which would be a dead end for this plastic conveyor belt. Given the limited surface transport of the plastic that accumulated here and the mechanisms acting for the downward transport, the seafloor beneath this Arctic sector is hypothesized as an important sink of plastic debris.”

Categories: Research

35 Years Of American Death and Patterns of Death in the South in Shadow of Slavery

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:39
  • FiveThirtyEight – 35 Years Of American Death Mortality rates for leading causes of death in every U.S. county from 1980 to 2014: “Researchers have long argued that where we live can help predict how we die. But how much our location affects our health is harder to say, because death certificates, the primary source for mortality data, are not always complete. They frequently contain what public health experts call “garbage codes”: vague or generic causes of death that are listed when the specific cause is unknown. Garbage codes make it difficult to track the toll of a disease over time or to look for geographical patterns in how people die. The data shown in the map above represents one research group’s effort to fill in these gaps…”
  • FiveThirtyEight – Patterns Of Death In The South Still Show The Outlines Of Slavery: On major health metrics in the U.S., the shaded counties on the antebellum map still stand out today. Maps of the modern plagues of health disparities — rural hospital closings, medical provider shortages, poor education outcomes, poverty and mortality — all glow along this Southern corridor. (There are other hot spots, as well, most notably several Native American reservations.) The region, known as the Black Belt, also features clearly on a new interactive created by FiveThirtyEight using mortality projections from researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The projections show that, while mortality is declining nationally, including among those who live in the Black Belt, large disparities in outcomes still exist. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the causes of these disparities in the Black Belt and talking to the communities they affect…“
Categories: Research

The United States of Work

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:21

The New Republic – Miya Tokumitsu: “The United States of Work Employers exercise vast control over our lives, even when we’re not on the job. How did our bosses gain power that the government itself doesn’t hold?”

Categories: Research

Google Home Now Recognizes Specific Users' Voices, Gains Support For Multiple Accounts

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:20
Google has issued a long-awaited feature for Google Home: support for multiple users. In an update rolling out today, up to six people will be able to connect their Google account to a Google Home, and the unit will try to distinguish each person's voice from the other users connected to the device. Therefore, each person will be able to get access to their schedule, playlists, and more. PhoneDog reports: Support for multiple users is rolling out in the U.S. now and will be available in the U.K. in the coming months. To know if the feature is available to you, launch the Google Home app and look for a card that says "Multi-user is available." You can also click the icon in the upper right corner, find your Google Home, and select "Link your account." From there, you'll train the Google Assistant to recognize your voice so that it knows it's you when you're talking and not the other people with connected accounts. You'll say "Ok Google" and "Hey Google" twice each.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

CJPP Launches Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:07

“Criminal justice debt – the result of fees and fines in the criminal justice system – has serious consequences. The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder brings transparency to this area of significant legal complexity: it gives easier access to state laws that govern criminal justice debt and suggests policy solutions through the Criminal Justice Policy Program’s Confronting Criminal Justice Debt: A Guide for Policy Reform. Click here to access the reform builder website.” [via Mary Whisner]

Categories: Research

FCC Takes First Step Toward Allowing More Broadcast TV Mergers

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 18:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: In a divided vote today, the Federal Communications Commission took steps that could lead to more consolidation among TV broadcasters, reducing the number of sources of local news. Today's changes revolve around the media ownership cap -- a limit on how many households a TV or radio broadcaster is allowed to reach. The rules are meant to promote diversity of media ownership, giving consumers access to different content and viewpoints. The cap currently prevents a company from reaching no more than 39 percent of U.S. households with broadcast TV. Large broadcasters hate the cap because it prevents them from getting even bigger. And since Trump took office and Ajit Pai was named chairman of the FCC, they've been lobbying to have it revised. The FCC's vote today starts to do that. First, it reinstates a rule known as the "UHF discount," which lets broadcasters have a bigger reach in areas where they use a certain type of technology. And second, it starts plans to revisit and raise the media ownership cap.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Paper – Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 16:53

Urban, Jennifer M. and Karaganis, Joe and Schofield, Brianna L., Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice (March 22, 2017). UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2755628. Available at SSRN: [via Mary Whisner]
“It has been nearly twenty years since section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act established the so-called notice and takedown process. Despite its importance to copyright holders, online service providers, and Internet speakers, very little empirical research has been done on how effective section 512 is for addressing copyright infringement, spurring online service provider development, or providing due process for notice targets. This report includes three studies that draw back the curtain on notice and takedown: 1. using detailed surveys and interviews with more than three dozen respondents, the first study gathers information on how online service providers and rightsholders experience and practice notice and takedown on a day-to-day basis; 2. the second study examines a random sample from over 100 million notices generated during a six-month period to see who is sending notices, why, and whether they are valid takedown requests; and 3. the third study looks specifically at a subset of those notices that were sent to Google Image Search. The findings suggest that whether notice and takedown “works” is highly dependent on who is using it and how it is practiced, though all respondents agreed that the Section 512 safe harbors remain fundamental to the online ecosystem. Perhaps surprisingly in light of large-scale online infringement, a large portion of OSPs still receive relatively few notices and process them by hand. For some major players, however, the scale of online infringement has led to automated, “bot”-based systems that leave little room for human review or discretion, and in a few cases notice and takedown has been abandoned in favor of techniques such as content filtering. The second and third studies revealed surprisingly high percentages of notices of questionable validity, with mistakes made by both “bots” and humans. The findings strongly suggest that the notice and takedown system is important, under strain, and that there is no “one size fits all” approach to improving it. Based on the findings, we suggest a variety of reforms to law and practice. Note: This is an updated version of the original paper. It includes two new appendices and some minor updates and corrections.”

Categories: Research

Financial Sector Whistleblower Safeguards: Failing the Reality Test?

Project On Government Oversight - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 15:33
Barclays has announced investigations by British regulators of its CEO’s efforts to identify a corporate whistleblower, in an apparent breach of bank policies and regulatory duties. In attempting to breach the anonymity of the whistleblower, the CEO jeopardized the whistleblower program by signaling that employees reporting misconduct cannot be assured protection against exposure and retaliation.
Categories: Research

Mastercard is Building Fingerprint Scanners Directly Into Its Cards

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 14:40
Mastercard said on Thursday it's beginning trials of its "next-generation biometric card" in South Africa. In addition to the standard chip and pin, the new cards have a built-in fingerprint reader that the user can use to authenticate every purchase. From a report: Impressively, the new card is no thicker or larger than your current credit and debit cards.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

AltGov2 – Trump’s Ambassadors: Financial Disclosures

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 13:34

Trump’s Ambassadors: Financial Disclosures by Russ Kick · April 19, 2017

“Nominees for high-level positions have to file financial disclosures and ethics agreements with the Office of Government Ethics. For some reason, the OGE posts these revealing documents for only the highest-paid officials. Ambassadors don’t earn enough to get posted, so their disclosures have to be requested. On this page I’ll be posting the documents for all ambassadors and nominees as they become available.
Terry Branstad (China):  financial disclosure / ethics agreement
David Friedman (Israel): financial disclosure / ethics agreement
William F. Hagerty IV (Japan): ethics agreement
Todd Haskell (Republic of Congo): ethics agreement
Nikki Haley (United Nations): financial disclosure / ethics agreement
Tulinabo Mushingi (Senegal and Guinea-Bissau): ethics agreement (Sept 2016) / ethics agreement (March 2017)

Categories: Research

UAlbany Launches Project to Digitize History of Executions in the United States

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 13:28

“The M. Watt Espy Papers, execution files on more than 15,000 legal executions in the United States since 1608, are getting a digital makeover. Hailed by the New York Times as “America’s foremost death penalty historian,” M. Watt Espy (1933-2009) devoted more than 40 years to cataloging each legal execution since the founding of the Jamestown Colony. In 2008, Espy donated his collection to the University at Albany Libraries’ National Death Penalty Archive. The work is supported through a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), which selected UAlbany to receive a 2016 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant. As one of only 17 awards out of a total of 144 applications nationwide, the grant will create the Digital Archive of Executions in the United States, 1608-2002 from the M. Watt Espy Papers’ execution files on over 15,000 legal executions in the United States…” [via Mary Whisner]

Categories: Research

HBR – Using Blockchain to Keep Public Data Public

beSpacific - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 13:23

Harvard Business Review – Data is under attack by Brian Forde is senior lecturer for bitcoin and blockchain at the MIT Sloan School of Management “…The Obama administration drastically increased the openness of government data, codifying it with an executive order that made open, machine-readable data the new default for government information, to ensure that we have transparency in government. So although the Trump administration’s moves are a return to the opacity of past administrations, it’s a move in the wrong direction. Perhaps most important is what this could mean for the U.S. government’s entire open data strategy, as the administration controls the information that so many businesses, organizations, and individual Americans depend on daily. If you checked the weather this morning, you relied on information that was supplied by government open data. Used GPS to get to a meeting? That information was supplied by government open data. Received an alert that the baby crib you purchased was recalled? That, too, was supplied by government open data. Unfortunately, it’s not just the Trump administration that has been caught deleting or altering important data. Companies are doing it too. Volkswagen cheated on emissions tests. Uber showed fake information about available drivers to government employees. And Airbnb was caught purging more than 1,000 listings, which were in violation of New York state law, just before it shared its data with the public as part of a pledge “to build an open and transparent community.

Categories: Research

President Trump Misses 90-Day Deadline To Appoint a Cybersecurity Team After Alleged Russian Hacking

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 13:23
From a report: President-elect Donald Trump was very clear: "I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office," he said in January, after getting a U.S. intelligence assessment of Russian interference in last year's elections and promising to address cybersecurity. Thursday, Trump hits his 90-day mark. There is no team, there is no plan, and there is no clear answer from the White House on who would even be working on what. It's the latest deadline Trump's set and missed -- from the press conference he said his wife would hold last fall to answer questions about her original immigration process to the plan to defeat ISIS that he'd said would come within his first 30 days in office. Since his inauguration, Trump's issued a few tweets and promises to get to the bottom of Russian hacking -- and accusations of surveillance of Americans, himself included, by the Obama administration.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research